Moving to the City

I love moving.

After a fairly nomadic childhood, I’m accustomed to not staying put. I don’t really have a hometown. I’ve lived in three states, attended 11 schools, and lived in 18 homes. I’m frequently asked if my family was military, because evidently, why else would you move from Maine to California in one fell swoop? But that’s what we did.


So as I sit here in our simple suburban apartment, I look around and can’t help but wonder, what next?

It feels normal to me to pack. To put my whole life in boxes. There’s something strangely therapeutic about it. You’re forced to decide what stays and what goes; to cleanse your life a bit. The process of finding a new place to live thrills me. I visualize where we’ll put things and what the grander purpose of the move really is. For us most recently, it was to live cheaper and save more money. It’s working for us but I’m getting antsy. I look around and I’m just….bored.

I worry we’re settling in to suburban life too soon. That we’ve missed the window of opportunity to live in a big city and embrace an urban lifestyle. I’ve written about my urban envy before – I’m jealous of you city bloggers! N and I have had this same talk hundreds of times. Are we missing out on our youth?

So recently, I’ve been pushing for a move. Not a drastic, change jobs, turn our whole lives upside down move. Just N, Archie, and me in a 3rd floor walk up or little row home in the closest urban area. It would add a bit of a commute for each of us but we’d be hanging on to our youth by the skin of our teeth. What a gross expression. I’m sorry I used it but it’s already out there (name that movie) and I’m not in a deleting and editing kind of mood.

This was us recently, taking a break from exploring neighborhoods in our potential city-to-be.
This was us recently, taking a break from exploring neighborhoods in our potential city-to-be.

For N’s part, he worries about why I love moving so much. Evidently it’s something everyone else seems to hate. He worries that it’s my solution to getting bored with my life or what it means for us when we buy a home some day. N lived in the same house his entire childhood. It was the first place I met his parents, as they still lived there until about a year ago. That is his normal.

And I want that, someday. At least I think I do. I can’t say for sure because I’ve never actually lived some place that I’ve wanted to stay for more than a year or two. I imagine my dream home, small (yes, small) with colorful shutters. Need a visual? I’ve got many on my Dream Home Pinterest board. There will be bunk beds and kids who share rooms, a big kitchen, and a distinctive lack of white furniture (seriously, what is with all the white furniture?). Maybe I won’t want to move from there. Perhaps it will be everything I always wanted and we’ll live there for decades.

Family members have mused that maybe moving is just my “normal” after my childhood. That my brain is set on a default to get bored with places. Some think I need therapy.

I think I’ll pass on the therapy and save my money because after all, security deposits can be damn pricey and this girl, she’s got her heart set on moving to the city.

  • My husband and I are pretty much the same as y’all. I moved a ton as an Air Force brat. His dad’s job in the Navy allowed them to live in the same place. I love moving so much that I married an Army officer, haha.

    • It keeps things interesting, doesn’t it?

  • How exciting! I just know you’ll love city-living 🙂

    • I just hope Archie does too. He’s gotten pretty accustomed to big grassy lawns.

  • eh, people think you need therapy for just about everything these days. If you aren’t a carbon copy of the next person, they assume something needs to be fixed. It probably is your norm after moving so much when you were younger. So what? The only thing we can really do in this life is follow what our hearts are telling us and if yours is saying “move to the city for now!” then girl do it! It sounds like N is being incredibly supportive and that’s awesome 🙂 I hope all goes well and that someday if you want, you find that forever home. In the meantime, have fun being a nomad! You get to see so many things that way!

    • Exactly! And I’m lucky that N is down to move to the city also. We’re hoping we can make it work for us.

  • JC

    I moved a lot in my youth, and all I want is to stop moving, though I can’t seem to make it happen. I totally agree with the white furniture thing. I like bright, or antiqued, mismatched bohemian looking, but that’s just me.

    • I agree with you. Our furniture is all mixed and worn but it’s really wood and I like it that way, scratches and all.

  • you are a born Gypsy, you have to be on the move. which is a good thing

  • I’m glad I’m not the only one who finds moving exciting and therapeutic! I haven’t lived in nearly as many places as you have, or moved as many times, but there is always so much potential in a new, empty house or apartment.

    • Exactly! So much potential and I love that. It keeps things exciting, for sure.

  • Kara

    I don’t think you need therapy at all – I think you like a little excitement in your life every once in a while 🙂 I agree with you that packing is an awesome way to clean out the clutter. My husband and I are doing one of those “drastic, change jobs, turn our life upside down” moves here in the next couple months – actually, he has already moved and started his new job, while I stay behind and tie up the loose ends with my job and selling our house. While I’m nervous, I also feel like it’s the right move for us. We’ve talked about it for a couple years now and it is finally the right time. But I hope that once we get there, we’ll stay put for more than just a few years. This big of a change is a lot of stress and I hope I don’t have to deal with it again any time soon!

    Good luck to you both!

    • Those big moves are even better for taking only what you need. When I left California, I only had what I could fit in the trunk of my Honda Accord. Now that I think about that, it sounds crazy but I’m so glad that i did it! Good luck on your big move!

  • This is interesting since I find myself in the “i hate moving” arena. but there is something fun about exploring somewhere new!

    • I know, most people do hate moving so I’m definitely the weirdo! I love it though and it feels so normal to me to pack my whole life in boxes every couple years.

  • Congrats on your move. Personally I hate moving but do love the part where I’m forced to look at things and purge a bit. But I do love the idea of finding a new place and decorating, it’s just the physical act of putting things in boxes, moving said boxes and then emptying those boxes that I hate. I have also wondered about living in a more urban area and if it’s too late for me – who knows?! I guess that is the fun thing about life – you never know where you could end up. Good for you for taking a chance and going for it!

    • After so many moves, I do all the packing (which I’m damn quick at, if I must say so myself) but then I hire movers. Our last move was only like 4 miles from where we used to live and it took the movers 2 hours to move everything. It only cost us about $400 and it was worth every penny.

  • I think you’re the only person I’ve ever heard say they love moving! But I’m kind of jealous how easily you handle the process. I’ve moved a bunch of times in my adult life, and each time I’ve had a minor meltdown somewhere among all the boxes. Excited to hear more about where you choose to land next!

    • I’ve definitely been known to have a meltodown or to question the decision when it’s too late to change our minds. Still, I’m always glad that we did it once it’s done.

  • I actually don’t think city living has to be a “young” thing. My husband and I (early thirties) live in a lakehouse in rural Minnesota. We’re hoping to have the house paid off in 10-15 years. When we do, we want to move to Minneapolis and live in a swanky downtown condo, but keep the lakehouse as our vacation home. We’re kind of doing it backwards, but who cares?! 🙂

    • Okay okay but a LAKEHOUSE is way way cooler than just living in the regular burbs. The norm is definintely to move to the city right after college (as so many of our friends did) so we kind of did it backwards too but I’m glad we are doing it when we are more financially stable.

  • I grew up in the same house my entire life & my parents still live there. Moving to a new city all by myself really changed things up for me, but honestly I wouldn’t mind moving again. Whether it’s to the midtown area (more urban) or a completely new city and changing jobs, I think I could do it no problem. I love my 820sq ft apartment and will definitely cry when I leave it (whenever that is), but I’m scared that I’ve gotten to comfortable in it. I feel the same way you do – I should be living in the urban areas, where the other young hip people are. I just wish financially I could afford to move in out of places every year or so!

    • Getting a security deposit together when you haven’t gotten your current one back yet is definitely challenging. We’ve also learned that houses in cities often require larger security deposits, for whatever reason. We’re saving and we’re going to make it happen in the next few months.

  • Sounds like an exciting adventure! I was a military kid so I understand the moving itch. I to want that city experience one day.. a girl really can dream 😉 Good luck on the move!

    Xo Trish

    • Thanks, Trish. We wanted to experience the city while we are still young.

  • I envy you, I wish I could just get up and move! I love new places but I am just so scared of change. I don’t know if that makes any sense lol

    • It makes total sense! I almost think I’m scared that staying put one place will mean I’m stuck. I start to feel stuck. I guess we have opposite fears.

  • I am having the same itch to move! I guess after having to move to and from college so many times I am not use to staying put. I just released my apartment so I am here for another year, but kinda wishing I was going some place new!

    • We went month to month on our current apartment until we find a new place in the city. It’s definitely a process but it’s so worth it.

  • A philly move?! #Phillybloggers4life

    • You know it! Can’t wait to be stuck in traffic on the Schuylkill every day lol

  • I kind of dig moving. I hate the process of packing up and loading the truck, but I love unpacking and getting used to the sounds and the layout of a new space.

    • I can get the packing done in record time but after moving so much, I hire movers. It’s more expensive but they get done so much faster than we could ever do it ourselves. It’s worth it.

  • I am the same as you with the nomadic childhood! My friends can never understand it sometimes, and some of them have even lived in the same house their entire life, it blows my mind!
    Good luck with your move, sweet xxx

    • Thank you! It’s been funny to see how N and I have adjusted, coming from such different childhood experiences. We’ve moved a lot together but hopefully our next place will stick for a few years.

  • dooooo it! city living is where it’s at! my husband and i moved to downtown portland, oregon and i never thought i’d be a city girl but hot dang! i can walk to get a cookie, coffee, ice cream, margarita (for 4 different places). that’s pretty much all i need.

    we actually moved from portland to the suburbs of houston last year while we went on a speaking tour and i realized just how soul-sucking certain suburbs can be so we moved back after it was over!

    i do wish i had your zest for moving because i do despise it.

    • We live in the suburbs right now and I think more than anything we just feel kind of alone. No one in our apartment complex is our age. It’s all families and older people. It’s a great complex but I want to live in a community that is closer to my age and lifestyle.

  • Moving is a stressful event and I am glad I have not had to do it in over 25yrs and have no plans to do it any time soon if at all

    • Someday I’ll be like you, Jo-Anne! I’ll find a place and settle down and stay put. Now I just have to figure out where that place will be…

  • That’s exciting! I love living in the city (Seattle) and can’t imagine living in the suburbs at this point in my life (I’m 27). I grew up in the burbs, and now can’t imagine living anywhere else except the city, even when we are older and have kids. One of the things I love most about the city is the diversity! Its crazy…people are insane…but I love it!

    • I know a lot of people who live in very livable cities (i.e. not really manhattan) and can see themselves raising children there. I guess I’ll wait and see how we feel once we live in the city.

  • My boyfriend moved a lot and his family wasn’t in the military. He didnt do drastic moves just from one town to a nearby town, or sometimes just one house to another in the same town but his mom was in real estate and his family later rented. I think he is used to it because now that we live together and are renting he is so good at moving and being in this same apartment for 2 years is a feat for him.

    • Your boyfriend and I sound very similar. I’ve lived in the same town for 4 years now and have lived in 4 apartments/houses. It’s crazy but it feels normal to me.

  • I can’t stay put either, or else I’ll feel complacent. And after living in a big city for a couple of months, I do recommend it as something everyone should do at least for a little bit. Just to say you’ve done it. Just to see what the big talk’s all about. Just to get the itch scratched!

    • That’s totally it – I just want to see what all the talk is about! We live right outside the city so moving there won’t be like a totally new place because we are there so often already but still, daily life will change quite a bit.

  • Katie

    Not that either me or my husband LOVE moving, but we are always throwing around the idea of moving out of the burbs into our local city(Baltimore). Like you, it would add to our commute, but I like the idea of being with a younger crowd and always having something to do. Hello!!! I’m tired of going to chain restaurants and the grocery stores with middle aged moms and their pre-teen kids! And we currently live in a house with 1 acre of land…. no one seriously enjoys that kind of yard maintenance while working full time without kids.

    • My whole family is from Baltimore! There is a lot to love but there is also a lot to fear. I’d be tempted to just live in Towson. I’ll agree with you about the chain restaurants though. There are so many in the burbs and the 10th time you have Macaroni Grille you’re like, what are we doing with our lives?

  • Part of me hates moving, and the other part loves being in a new place. I get excited to be able to decorate each place differently…but the living out of boxes for a few weeks is a problem. Although, that could be my fault as it’s a consequence of my laziness…hmm.

    I think I want to settle in one place too…”someday”. Who knows if that someday will every actually happen. I can’t imagine owning the same house for 15+ years, which is funny considering I grew up with parents who have been in the same house since I was 5 – granted they remodeled.

    Miranda Xx

    • I can’t imagine living in the same house forever either but I’ve always expected that I’ll do that someday. I don’t want my kids to have the same nomadic childhood that I had, even though I’m grateful for it.

  • I kind of feel this way about jobs. I get bored with jobs at the 2-year mark. Maybe I need therapy? (just kidding, i just need to win the lottery).

    • Doesn’t everyone need a little therapy? lol I’m hoping I stay at my current job for a good long while.

  • Yeah moving to the city! I have total city envy of other people. I mean, I live SUPER close to the city, but it’s not the same. I have some friends who live in Chicago and they have the most AMAZING view of the skyline and I’m so jealous. So hopefully one of these days it’ll be in the cards for me. We’ll see!

    • It’s hard to justify a move to the city, especially when it’s so expensive. Still, CHICAGO!? I’d do it someday, if I were you.

  • I’ve settled down from the constant moving (which was normal to me too!) since we have small kids now but I still toss the idea around of leaving the burbs and take on city living again! Move move move! You will never regret it!

    • Taking on city living WITH kids is a whole different beast. We have friends who live in the city who swear they’ll stay there after they have kids. Still, I feel like we won’t know until those kids are here. I can imagine most people start to want a yard etc.

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